Epilachna beetles (Epilachna chrysomelina)
Adults of this beetle, also known as the African melon ladybird, are 6-8 mm long, reddish in colour with a number of black spots on the wing cases. The larvae are 7-9 mm in length, soft and covered with dark coloured spines. Adults and larvae feed on leaves leaving a fine net of veins. Damaged leaves shrivel and dry up. Young plants can be entirely destroyed. Older plants can tolerate considerable leaf damage. This beetle is a vector of squash mosaic virus. Epilachna beetles attack all cucurbits.
- Spray neem extracts. Simple neem-based pesticides have given control of this pest in Togo. Thus, feeding by Epilachna beetles in squash and cucumber could be reduced significantly by weekly applications of aqueous neem kernel extracts at concentrations of 25, 50 and 100 g/l and neem oil applied with an ultra-low-volume (ULV) sprayer at 10 and 20 l/ha (Ostermann and Dreyer, 1995).